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Charity shops targeted as burglaries spike in south of the borough

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 December 2014 | UPDATED: 13:16 12 December 2014

Manager Jo Mills outside the Heart foundation charity shop where she works, which was broken into on Friday night (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

Manager Jo Mills outside the Heart foundation charity shop where she works, which was broken into on Friday night (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

Archant

A wave of shop thefts and break-ins, including a late-night burglary blitz on three charity shops, is sweeping the south of the borough.

Owner Pauline Obee and John Penrose outside Rainbow Trust in Harold WoodOwner Pauline Obee and John Penrose outside Rainbow Trust in Harold Wood

Upminster’s Sue Ryder Care, in Corbets Tey Road, and British Heart Foundation (BHF), High Street, Hornchurch, fell victim to thieves in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Each store had its front door destroyed and donation boxes stolen. The Rainbow Trust, in Station Road, Harold Wood, was also hit.

BHF manager Jo Mills said: “It’s horrific. I’m a heart patient myself and it’s very distressing for the volunteers and me. We had small amounts stolen but lost vital trade on Saturday morning.”

The heartless shop burglaries make up just a fraction of the total number of incidents that have been reported, particularly in the south of the borough, in recent weeks.

Manager Pam Watson outside Sue Ryder Care charity shopManager Pam Watson outside Sue Ryder Care charity shop

In the leafy ward of Upminster there were seven burglaries between December 1-10 – almost as many as there were throughout the whole month in 2013. Last December there were 11, according to police figures.

One victim, who was featured in the Recorder last week launching a desperate plea for the return of family ring following a burglary, said there had been four break-ins on the same night just on her road.

The home of Kirsty-Joy Surma, 27, of Roseberry Gardens, Upminster, was targeted on the evening of November 25.

High streets have also been targeted in apparently unconnected incidents, which see men attempting to reach into tills while shopkeepers are distracted.

Upminster high streetUpminster high street

One theft, at Upminster’s Aesthetics of Essex, Howard Road, left owner Amanda Stokes shaken and nearly £1,000 out of pocket.

Upminster’s Sgt Steve Mangham, of Havering Police, said transport links made the south of the borough popular with burglars and thieves. He also warned residents to ensure they made properties look occupied by leaving lights on, securing garages and trimming hedges.

He said police had increased patrols of uniformed and plain-clothes officers and urged concerned members of the public to report anything suspicious, adding: “Historically you get an increase in burglaries at this time of year.”


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